Reminder of God
December 30, 2004It was over 60 degrees today in Atlanta, just two days from New years eve. Being such a pretty day, I grabbed my Bible and books and headed to the top of Kennesaw mountain to study. I rounded a blind corner, slowing to 20 miles per hour. Good thing I did. There was a woman standing in the middle of the street on the other side of the corner, walking with three other people, four abreast in the road, holding the leashes of three dogs. She held her hand out for me to stop. Thinking she needed help, I stopped, rolled down my window, and asked if I could help. "The Speed limit here is 25 miles an hour" She yelled "Slow Down!!!" Give me a break! By virtue of her own carelessness, she almost gets herself and/or her dogs run over, and yet she sets herself up as judge and jury over me, while I had been driving under the speed limit? I wonder if she ever broke the speed limit, or rolled through a stop sign without a complete stop, or failed to signal before changing lanes or turning. There is a large segment of our population who want to control others. In political terms, they are almost socialist in their expectations of others, yet wanting to be treated as a libertarian themselves! None of us, however, has the right to control, to impose our belief system, on others. Oh, to be sure, we must pray for others, be willing, even purposeful in sharing our beliefs with others, yet if they choose at this time not to follow suit, we must remember that God is their judge, not us. We must deal with them in mercy, as we, ourselves have been dealt with in mercy. There is, thankfully, no spiritual gift of criticism, no Church office of control freak. We may disagree with a persons' stance on an issue, but our call is to love that person none the less--even if they stand in the middle of the road, and choose to yell at me.
Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Seriously, how can we expect, hope for, the severity of God's justice in the life of another, while we expect, hope for, His mercy for ourselves? We must extend His love, His mercy, just as we have received His love, His mercy. We are His ambassadors.
December 29, 2004In C. S. Lewis' brilliant Narnia series, Aslan, the Christ figure, gave to each of the children visiting the land of Narnia (a land populated by talking animals) a special gift, unique to each of them. To Lucy, He gave a small diamond vial filled with a healing elixir. In Prince Caspian, one of the books in the series, a great battle has taken place. Reepicheep, a valiant mouse, has been gravely wounded. Let's eavesdrop on the scene:
"For at that moment a curious little procession was approaching--eleven Mice, six of whom carried between them something on a litter made of branches.....They were plastered with mud--some with blood too--and their ears were down and their whiskers drooped and their tails dragged in the grass, and their leader piped on his slender pipe a melancholy tune. On the litter lay what seemed little better than a damp heap of fur; all that was left of Reepicheep. He was still breathing, but more dead than alive, gashed with innumerable wounds, one paw crushed, and, where his tail had been, a bandaged stump.
"Now, Lucy," said Aslan.
Lucy had her diamond bottle out in a moment. Though only a drop was needed on each of Reepicheep's wounds, the wounds were so many that there was a long and anxious silence before she had finished and the Master Mouse sprang from the litter. His hand went at once to his sword hilt, with the other he twirled his whiskers. He bowed.
Such great truth in the form of a story. You see, God gives each of us a spiritual gift unigue to us when we come into His country. We can hide these gifts, that is true, but when we use them, we bring healing to others.
1st Corinthians 12:4-7
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Each gift is intended for the common good--not simply for the enrichment of self. Are you using yours, or keeping it in hiding? Don't be afraid to pour out its precious contents. God will refill it...and refill you.